chanel: 48 posts

Three Ultimate Iris Perfumes

Once, as I was telling Maurice Roucel how much I loved his Iris Silver Mist, a perfume he created for Serge Lutens, he laughed and explained that Lutens kept asking again and again for more iris, so he ended up using all the iris aromatics in the catalogue of his company and essentially “mixing them together.” Roucel can be refreshingly self-deprecating about his work, but I knew that achieving the precise harmony of Iris Silver Mist took much more than just blending all irises in sight. For me, it evokes the cool, frozen beauty of this complex note in a way that few other iris perfumes can.

In my recent FT column, I examine three iris classics, describing what makes them compelling and memorable. Above all, iris as an ingredient deserves attention because it’s one of the most layered, rich but difficult materials available to perfumers.

The first time I smelled iris essence, I stood for a few minutes with a perfume blotter under my nose before I regained my senses. In an instant it conjured up frozen petals and snow-covered trees, and while this image of a winter garden was vivid, I couldn’t easily describe the fragrance. It was like nothing I had encountered before, and pinning down its radiant but surprisingly potent scent proved difficult. To continue, please click here.

What are your ultimate iris perfumes?

The Shifting Contexts of Perfume

Could other factors, apart from the aroma itself, influence our perception of perfume? Yes, of course, and this is not limited to fragrance. Elisa explores the topic.

A few years ago, I went to a nearby wine shop to stock up for a weekend in the mountains with some old college friends. A representative from a local winery intercepted me in the red blends aisle and implored me to try a bottle of his family’s wine. Colorado is not known for its vineyards, but I went along in the spirit of adventure, bonhomie, and perhaps a touch of pity.

When we got to the mountains, I warned my friends (occasional wine snobs) that I couldn’t vouch for the quality of the local wine. Since we were all sure it would be bad, we saved it until the end of dinner, a couple of bottles in. When we finally opened and tasted it, we were blown away—it was utterly unusual, with the complexity and creaminess of a good Bordeaux but some additional, unplaceable quirk that made it compulsively drinkable. I was sad when it was gone.

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Chanel No 5 L’Eau : Fragrance Review

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Although sometimes I’m prone to romanticizing the golden days of perfumery–that vague time in the past when regulations and profitability didn’t shape the industry the way they do today, I’m not a traditionalist. Tastes change, and I don’t expect that young people today want to wear only fragrances created 100 years ago, just as the children of those whose wear Lancôme La Vie est Belle and Bleu de Chanel might reject their parents’ choices. Yes, a day of “vintage” La Vie est Belle will come. This is why I don’t object to the reworks of classics, such as Chanel No. 5 L’Eau, provided that the brand keeps the original intact and interprets the “young and trendy” theme in an interesting manner.

chanel 5eau

L’Eau is an attempt by Chanel to draw a younger, trendier audience to No. 5. Although I smell enough of No. 5 on women in their twenties in Paris and notice its constant presence in the top 10 best sellers, it is still somewhat of a cult favorite. L’Eau goes for wider appeal.

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Sunscreens : An Update

This is the second installment to my original overview of (mostly unscented) sunscreens. I have so much to say about Asian sunscreens that I shall keep them for a separate post, but today I will cover a number of selections from American and European brands. Unlike the first selection, this group includes products I disliked or found lacking in one aspect or another. Many of them have received glowing reviews from leading skincare bloggers and dermatologists, but since skincare is never made to suit everyone, I thought that another perspective would help those looking for the best sun protection.

sunscreens

First, I should mention what I look for in a sunscreen. My skin is combination and a sunscreen shouldn’t irritate it. It should also leave a satiny, non-oily finish. It should be lightly moisturizing. It should allow for layering–I reapply sunscreen at least twice a day. I also prefer my sunscreen unscented. Finally, and this is the most important part, it should have full spectrum protection, UVB and UVA. I don’t have preference over the sunscreen being chemical or physical, but a mix tends to have the best results in terms of finish and protection. This is my ideal type, if you will, and yes, such a sunscreen exists (many of them were described in the first article.)

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Chanel Creme Pour Le Corps (Fresh Body Cream) : Review and Experiment

If a brand promises a separate product to extend the lasting power of its perfumes, it’s either a sign of a gimmick or technical problems with its fragrances. That being said, if your skin is dry, then you might notice scents vanishing quickly, but this trouble is solved by any good drugstore moisturizer. Where does it leave Crème Pour Le Corps Les Exclusifs de Chanel, Chanel’s rich body cream designed to be layered with the fragrances from its Les Exclusifs collection? It’s not quite a dull gimmick, but it’s not an essential product either.

creme chanel

Crème Pour Le Corps is an excellent moisturizer, and if your budget has space for a $130 body cream, then by all means, try it for that reason alone. The cream absorbs instantly, but it leaves my skin soft for hours, always a plus. On the other hand, there are wonderful products available from Avène, La Roche Posay, Eucerin, and Ren, and I’m not a big fan of jar packaging; for hygienic reasons I prefer tubes or pump dispensers.

The only reason I’d possibly consider Crème Pour Le Corps would be its purported ability to make the ethereal 28 La Pausa wear like iron. I think of 28 La Pausa as an iris cologne, and I use it lavishly as such, but at times I really wish this tender blend of iris, mellow woods and musk wouldn’t vanish so fast. Which is why I decided to experiment by layering it with Crème Pour Le Corps. I’ve undertaken said experiment with my usual geeky pedantry scientific precision. I’ve applied a layer of cream on one arm and added two sprays of 28 La Pausa. My other arm received just two spritzes of La Pausa, without any cream. I waited and sniffed my arms intermittently.

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Latest Comments

  • Anna in Cherry Blossom Haiku: What a lovely post for the Spring, Victoria. Cherry blossoms and haiku. I love Basho but had not heard of Buson. It reminds me to buy an anthology. Winter gives… April 26, 2017 at 9:17pm

  • ClareObscure in Cherry Blossom Haiku: Hi Victoria. I hope you are making progress in your garden. This was a lovely post about the fleeting poignant loveliness of Spring blossoms. Here in England we are surrounded… April 26, 2017 at 7:44pm

  • Amy McLaughlin in What Does The Scent of Books Reveal?: My pleasure! April 26, 2017 at 4:43pm

  • Victoria in Cherry Blossom Haiku: Cherry leaves and twigs also have a wonderful taste of roasted almonds. My grandmother uses leaves for pickles and twigs for roasting meat. April 26, 2017 at 2:23pm

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